Aquamin Sea Weed Mineral Complex
What is AquaminAquamin is a natural, marine-sourced multi-mineral, which is derived from the cytoskeleton of the red algal Lithothamnion spp. Over the course of the aquatic plant’s life, minerals are accumulated from the seawater, and stored as carbonate salts in the plant. 74 components have been identified in total.
Other than washing and milling, Aquamin is unaltered from the raw material and as such represents a natural multi-mineral material that is suitable for many food and supplement applications.
Although numerous anecdotal reports of health benefits associated with consumption of Aquamin existed, no objective research was carried out until Marigot Ltd. undertook to understand exactly how Aquamin could impact human health. Over 20 years, Marigot Ltd. have accumulated a large and growing body of research evaluating Aquamin in work spanning in vitro assays, numerous animal models and human trials. This portfolio of research has been conducted independently, and largely at academic institutions across the world,- by investigators that are renowned in their respective fields. All researchers are encouraged to publish their results on Aquamin in peer-reviewed scientific journals. As such, this research can be accessed by all and has withstood critique from peers in the relevant field(s).
Osteoporosis is a major public health concern causing more than 8.9 million fractures annually worldwide, or one every 3 seconds, with post-menopausal women at particularly high risk. Scientific evidence has shown that dietary intake of calcium and other minerals is crucial to slow age-related bone loss.
To determine if the minerals in Aquamin might play a role in this important subject, the studies undertaken by Marigot in recent years have been comprehensive and have yielded impressive results on the benefits of Aquamin on bone health.
Aquamin and Bone Health
Our largest human dietary intervention study was carried out in conjunction with the University of Ulster, Ireland. Slevin et al.1 investigated the effects of Aquamin alone and in combination with the prebiotic, short-chain, fructo-oligosaccharide (scFOS) on bone health, specifically bone mineral density (BMD) and bone turnover markers in 300 healthy, post-menopausal women over the course of 24 months.
There were 3 treatment groups. The first was a placebo group, in the second the women were given Aquamin only (2400mg/800 Ca/day) while in the third group, the women were given Aquamin in combination with scFOS (3.6g/day)). DEXA scans for BMD were taken at the beginning and end of the study while the bone breakdown marker (CTX) and the bone formation marker (osteocalcin) were measured at 0, 12 and 24 months.
Aquamin and NutraFlora®
Fig 3: Significant changes were seen in the bone markers, osteo- calcin and CTX, in both treatment groups.
The results above led us to ask questions about the bioavailability levels of Aquamin. To answer this we carried out a double-blind, randomised, cross-over study on young, healthy, adult females (Zenk et al., 2017)2. Twelve fasting female subjects received a single, oral dose of Aquamin (720mg Ca), or CaCO3 (720mg) or placebo. Blood and urine samples were collected at baseline and over 12 hours to evaluate ionised and total calcium and parathyroid hormone (PTH) levels.
Aquamin has been demonstrated to have superior bioavailability than other, commonly available calcium sources and has beneficial effects on bone, inflammation, specifically osteoarthritic conditions, digestive health, and cardiovascular health.
Joint Health, Osteoarthritis and Inflammation
Osteoarthritis (OA) is the most common form of arthritis affecting millions of people worldwide. It is an inflammatory condition with symptoms that include pain, stiffness, reduced range of motion and functional disability 1. It has no cure and is managed primarily, particularly in the early stages, by Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs (NSAIDs) and Acetaminophen (also known as Paracetamol).
Marigot’s most recent investigation (completed in 2020) into OA is also the most comprehensive.8 For this study we compared Osean 74 (a Marigot product containing Aquamin F, sea-water derived Magnesium and pine bark) against Glucosamine on symptoms of pain and physical function in subjects with mild to moderate OA 3. Glucosamine is considered the most widely used nutraceutical for treatment of OA despite a lack of scientific consensus.
This recent study was a double-blind, randomised, cross-over trial where 30 subjects were assigned to either the glucosamine group or the Aquamin product for 12 weeks. This was followed by a 4-week wash out phase and 12 weeks of the alternate treatment. The Knee Injury and Osteoarthritis Outcome (KOOS) Score was used to assess pain and symptoms and analgesic use was recorded. Functional change was assessed by a Timed-up-and-Go (TuG) test and a six-minute walking distance.
The results for the Aquamin product were unequivocal – the pain of mild to moderate symptomatic OA was reduced for all participants (Fig 9 a). Indeed, this improvement in pain demonstrated a clinically important difference (or improvement) for both genders independently,
and was found to be superior to Glucosamine. The results also proved that the use of analgesic medication was 72% lower and NSAID intake was 65% lower when participants were on the Aquamin product arm compared to Glucosamine (Fig 9 a). The results describing the reduction of pain medication is important as these medicines are known to have undesirable side-effects. Therefore, any reduction in their use, without an accompanying increase in pain is very beneficial.
Impact of Treatment on 6 Minute Walking Distance
To understand how Aquamin might mediate its observed anti-inflam- matory effects, we investigated how cytokines are influenced by Aquamin.11 Cytokines are a family of molecules that help to regulate the immune response and inflammation. This project aimed to elucidate the mechanisms by which Aquamin may alter these cytokine pathways as lack of regulation of these molecules, particularly Tumour Necrosis Factor (TNF)-α and Interleukin (IL)-1β can lead to inappropriate inflammatory responses.
Glial cells were used for this in-vitro study as they are particularly sensitive to inflammation. Inflammation was stimulated using bacteri- al Lipopolysaccharide (LPS) and the release of TNFα and IL-1β from the inflamed cells was measured.
The results were unambiguous. The control cells demonstrated no inflammation while LPS induced significant inflammation as measured by TNFα (Fig 12 a) and IL-1β (Fig 12 a) secretion. Aquamin itself at did not induce inflammation but significantly inhibited TNFα and IL-1β secretion from LPS treated cells.
The above study was quickly followed up by a second publication from the same group in 2009.10 For this study, we investigated if it was possible to reduce NSAID usage with Aquamin. Non-steroidal anti-in- flammatory drugs (NSAIDs) are commonly used to relieve the pain and discomfort of osteoarthritis but often have unwelcome side effects including digestive and heart health issues.
Again, we recruited subjects suffering from moderate to severe osteoarthritis for this blinded, randomised and parallel study where Aquamin was compared to a placebo. Subjects were required to reduce NSAID use by 50% after 2 weeks of treatment and to stop NSAID use after 4 weeks on the study. No NSAID use was allowed for the remaining 8 weeks but subjects could take acetaminophen as a rescue medication for pain.
The results showed that with a 50% reduction in NSAID use, the Aquamin group showed significantly increased range of motion scores and 6-minute walking distance (Fig 11) 6. The chronic pain associated with OA should never be underestimated. Sufferers of OA often experience pain daily, weekly, monthly for years, often decades on end. Any reduction in NSAID use through moderation of pain levels is of enormous benefit to OA sufferers.
Aquamin & Gut Inflammation
For the past decade, Marigot Ltd has worked closely with Professor James Varani and his colleagues at the University of Michigan Medical School. They tested the hypothesis that the absence or reduced intake of multi-minerals in a Western style diet, may contribute to diseases with a diet-associated factor. These investigations began in-vitro, with preliminary observations showing that cultured gut-lining (epithelial) cells showed improved differentiation (non-malignant effect and improved function) and proliferation (healthier growing cells) in the presence of Aquamin (Aslam et al., 2009).14 These initial results demonstrated that the minerals in Aquamin helped maintain a healthy digestive barrier, which is necessary to prevent chronic inflammation in the gut. Follow-up studies investigating the role of Aquamin in the regulation of gastrointestinal inflammation in mice, subjected to a mouse version of the Western Style Diet, found a reduction in generalised inflammation in the gut, colonic polyp formation and fatty liver disease (Aslam et al., 2010).15
This finding was further supported in another trial, where mined limestone rock was compared against Aquamin. Despite each group of mice consuming the same amount of calcium, the mice receiving Aquamin were protected against GI inflammation and resultant polyp formation (Aslam et al., 2012).16 An incidental finding from the study was significantly reduced liver mass formation in mice fed the Western Style Diet plus Aquamin versus the controls and limestone-derived calcium (Aslam et al., 2012, Biol Trace Elements).17 Taken together, these results have prompted Marigot Ltd, alongside colleagues from the University of Michigan, to further investigate
whether these anti-inflammatory effects in-vitro and in the digestive tract of mice can also be observed in humans. Initial results from this FDA-approved and regulated human trial describes how the results, show improvements and beneficial alterations in the biomarkers of differentiation (function) and proliferation (growth) in the presence of Aquamin, confirming that Aquamin helps maintain a healthy digestive barrier and reduce chronic inflammation in the human gut. A healthy, impermeable barrier is important as it prevents ‘leakage’ of undigest- ed foods, bacteria and virus’ into the bloodstream. The next step in this series of experiments is to investigate the effect of Aquamin in gut inflammatory conditions such as ulcerative colitis. These human studies are FDA-approved and regulated.
Previously, the beneficial effects of Aquamin were seen in a mouse model of colitis. Colitis is one of several chronic inflammatory disorders collectively known as inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). Current therapies target the inflammatory pathways with a view to resolving inflammation in the gut. Aquamin supplementation provided a significant reduction in mortality and disease activity along with significant reductions in several markers of inflammation including IL-1 β, TNFα and IL-2 (Fig 16) (Aviello et al., 2013).18